With equipment continually getting larger and more expensive, the Scotland County Commission this week put the finishing touches on preliminary plans to expand the road and bridge shop, located on Highway 15 near the north edge of Memphis.
“Our equipment has simply outgrown the facility,” said Western District Commissioner David Wiggins. “We have been studying this for roughly two years and decided it was time to move forward.”
PSBA Engineering has completed preliminary plans for a 3,200 square foot free-standing building that would be constructed north of the existing county shop.
“Initial plans were for something substantially larger, around 5,000 square feet, but we have trimmed it back to this current proposal,” said Wiggins.
Presiding Commissioner Duane Ebeling noted that budgeting has been in the works during this process, with some thoughts of beginning in 2018.
“We had budgeted for about half the cost so that we could get something rolling this year, but it all takes time,” he said. “Hopefully we can begin construction in the spring of 2019.”
The existing maintenance facility was built in the early 1970s and originally served as a car dealership.
“We currently have five road graders and only one of them will fit in the current building,” said Ebeling.
That has made the new expansion a priority for the commission. The preliminary plans call for doors on the east and west ends of the building.
“The plans call for a building large enough to allow us to drive our trucks through,” said Eastern District Commission Danette Clatt. “We would be basically doubling our work area and be able to get the road graders in for maintenance and during bad weather. When we had that bad snow storm we had to take them other places to get them inside.”
“If we do not get the ice off them before the next morning, they get froze up solid and then they’re not ready to go,” said Wiggins.
Clatt noted that parking them inside in a heated facility should prove more efficient and economical than having them plugged in outdoors to try to prevent freeze ups and insuring they will run in cold weather.
With the plans still yet to be finalized, the commission did not have cost estimates completed to share with the public.
“We simply want to share the news with the public and let them know we are open to feedback on the plans,” said Wiggins.